work bench with space in the middle

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Forum topic by bruce47 posted 08-15-2020 02:41 PM 634 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 3798 days

08-15-2020 02:41 PM

I am building a workbench out of 2X4 material. Thank you all for the help. Question, I have seen wood working benches built that have a section in the middle that is lower than the surface or just an open space. Can anyone tell me the purpose for the bench being built like that. Thank you.

10 replies so far

View SMP's profile


4731 posts in 1122 days

#1 posted 08-15-2020 03:13 PM

The purpose is to act like a junk drawer, so you can throw all your tools and pencils and small parts of the project so they become harder to find later on. In theory its supposed to be a tool well, but we all know what happens there lol

View Jerroni's profile


21 posts in 1211 days

#2 posted 08-15-2020 03:58 PM

I built my bench with a wide gap – my bench is 84” x 36” with an 8” gap in middle. Beyond a tool tray, you can use a gap for better clamping (or adding stops, bench dogs, or t-track), making later modifications to bench for power, pressure or vacuum lines, mounting lighting, dust collection, jigs and fixtures, track saw cutting, removable section on top (yes, you can fill in the gap with a section that can be removed when you need to use the gap). A solid, flat surface is critical to a good workbench for woodworking, but I don’t see a problem with leaving room for some versatile 2D or 3D options (rather than later cutting into a thick slab top to make a modification). The key is to make the bench for the kind of work you will do.

View nickbatz's profile


801 posts in 1297 days

#3 posted 08-15-2020 05:34 PM

You might also be seeing a space for a miter saw. The surfaces on each side support wood larger than the saw’s small table.

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6029 posts in 3567 days

#4 posted 08-15-2020 06:43 PM

I think the split top Roubo got traction because you can run each side through a planer. When I built mine, I just didn’t think it would be useful having a tool well in the center and made a solid top.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bruce47's profile


31 posts in 3798 days

#5 posted 08-15-2020 08:38 PM

SMP, you gave me a big smile! If there were smiley faces some where here I would put a bunch of them on.
Jerroni, nickbatz and bondogaposis, thank you for your reply’s also. I think I will make mine flat because it would always be full of stuff so I couldn’t use it anyway. I have enough places to keep kleen but I did learn something. You know, you’re supposed to learn something new everyday.

View Bob5103's profile (online now)


228 posts in 2050 days

#6 posted 08-15-2020 09:02 PM

I didn’t want the tool well when I built my bench but I did want the extra clamping that a tool well makes available. So I made a hybrid. It has 2 spaces that are spaces that are filled and flush with the surface most of the time and easily removed when I need to clamp.

View dpjeansonne's profile


75 posts in 4430 days

#7 posted 08-15-2020 10:12 PM

I have the split top Roubo design with 4 reversible boxes. The boxes stay flat side up when not needed to maximize the usable flat surface. I flip over one or two boxes when I have a project that I want tools and supplies right there where I need them. Removing the boxes allows for good clamping options that I like.
You have to be disciplined to keep the boxes clean and not become a junk drawer.
It works for me but I know others don’t like them. No one size fits all.

-- Cajun Don, Louisiana

View bruce47's profile


31 posts in 3798 days

#8 posted 08-16-2020 02:27 PM

I looked at your pictures and that makes a lot of sense, I like your idea.
dpjeansonne Certainly something to think about and I am starting to lean more in that direction.
Thank you,

I am certainly getting a good education on building a work bench so I won’t get into a great big hurry to get it done.
I am building a place to store LP records now so when it is finished I can start building my bench. Should have done the bench first because I sure could have used it for this project.

View Just_Iain's profile


331 posts in 1632 days

#9 posted 09-22-2020 08:01 PM


Go over to the Christopher Schwarz’s “Lost Art Press” webpage (yeah, I’m going to make you work for this) and go to books section and track down “The Anarchist’s Workbench”. Go to the page for the book and there is a link to download the book as a pdf for free. Chris is doing this ‘cause he’s the writer of the book and choose to give it away cause he can. He those who like it enough will buy the book anyway.


-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View bruce47's profile


31 posts in 3798 days

#10 posted 09-22-2020 09:18 PM

Thanks Just-Iain,
I found it and started reading, didn’t get to far yet, thought I should tell that I found it and say thanks.

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